Thursday, September 20, 2012

Sistas

Pride and Prejudice, Little Women, Sense and Sensibility, White Christmas. What do all these things have in common? Sisters!

Recently, I was confronted with how important sisters are. I've grown up with four and they are the people that have impacted me the most. I look up to to my older sisters, and even my younger sister, and they are all my best friends by far. But as I get older I begin to wonder why we are so close and what makes me admire them like I do. I brainstormed eight things that my sisters have done or been in my life that have influenced my view of them and life in general.

1) Overlooked age. My oldest sister is eight years older than me, but she has always treated me just like one of her peers. About five years ago, Sarah and I shared a room. She was 19, I was 11. I remember trying to fall asleep as she talked to her fiance on the phone. Sometimes, she would recreate their funny conversations and tell me all about my future brother-in-law. I never felt 11. She let me be her peer and respected me; I will never forget that. I was at a point in my life when confidence was low and it felt like it was me against the world. But the fact that a 19 year-old cared enough to enjoy conversations with me made me feel valuable.

2) Took care of me. I am the second youngest in my family and I admit I am spoiled. I don't think I paid for my own food or entertainment until I was at least 13. My sisters always covered it. My two oldest sisters would take us to movies or out for ice cream all the time and always paid. Looking back I can imagine mom and dad probably gave them some money, but I am sure a lot came out of their own pockets. Few teenage girls are willing to give up their hard earned babysitting money to buy their younger sister a smoothie, but I am glad mine thought I was worth the sacrifice. It made me feel cared for.

3) Were patient. As I have previously stated, my sisters spent a lot of time with me. I realize now how hard that must have been. I was not a very pleasant child, in fact, I was downright annoying. My younger sister and I used to invade every time my older sisters had friends over, but we were rarely scolded. Our sisters usually just let us join in on the party. Even in my worst stages of life, my sisters have overlooked my blaring flaws and loved me.

4) Listened. My sister Mallory and I have spent many nights talking on and on about our lives. Generally, I wouldn't vocalize my emotions, but when I did it was to Mallory. She listened intently and gave the best advice. All my sisters did a good job listening, even to the small things. They know me better than anyone because they listened.

5) Talked. I said my sisters were good listeners, but they also talk. When you imagine a house of five girls you usually picture it loud and emotional, and this is pretty true. Someone is always talking, usually more than one someone is talking. My sisters would spend hours talking to each other and my mom about every topic imaginable. God, boys, work, church, music, friends, futures, food, anything you can think of. I used to love to just sit and listen to them talk. I can't even count all the things I've learned from these conversations, when I just listened, gleaning wisdom.

6) Spent time with me. I have already spoken a lot about the amount of time my sisters have spent with me, but this factor affected me the most. Our family has been homeschooling for around 11 years. Most days we spent together around the kitchen table just doing our school. We had friends, but we were not around them all day at school, we were with our sisters. I think this is why my sisters were able to impact my life the way they did. They could have done all the other things on this list, but if they only spent an hour with me a day, it would not have made the same impression. This isn't to say that only homeschoolers can be good sisters, that is not true at all! But I think time is the most important aspect of sisterhood. Haven't you ever wondered why sisters can be so much closer than friends? It is because you know each other from the day you are born, usually to the day you die and you see each other consistently. Every strong relationship needs the investment of time.

7) Through example. I would say all my sisters are very praiseworthy women. They have shown me all the qualities of a godly woman and through trying to imitate them, I have begun to imitate Christ. They have shown me what it looks like to be a woman striving after Christ. They have spent time with me letting me see their beauty, and also their flaws that leave them ever dependent on God. I am so thankful that I had worthy role models growing up that I can still look to now.

8) By moving on. This next one is hard. I couldn't always be 11 sitting on my sisters bed talking about her husband-to-be, soon she would have to marry him and move across the ocean. I couldn't spend my whole life in those moments talking about Mallory's passion, at some point it would be time for her to live it. People grow up and move on. If there could be one set back to being so close to your sisters, it would be that it becomes too hard when they grow up and move out. I am the oldest sister in my home now. It is weird. But I am learning just as much from their absence as I did from their presence. I can see that through imitating their qualities, they have become part of my character as well. They have shown me what it means to be a godly woman, so now when I let go of them I can cling to Him. Without them near me all the time, I can see that their love for me, in all its expressions, was just a reflection of God's love.

Growing up I had amazing sisters to look up to, but I know that not everyone did. I also acknowledge that not everyone is as close to their siblings as I am. But I implore you to try. There is no way to measure the value of a close sister or brother. Ultimately we should be pointed toward God, but we need companions. Friends can fill this space to some extent, but a sister or brother will always be there. It is a relationship worth investing in. It is hard work sometimes (ok A LOT of times...) but it is so, so worth it.

"That their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God's mystery, that is Christ, in whom are hidden treasures of wisdom and knowledge."
Colossians 2:2-3